Times Up So When Do Things Get Back To Normal

By Kraig KannOctober 24, 2002, 4:00 pm
The time has come when every player in the field at the Buy.Com Tour Championship might just have to look back at the one stroke that slipped away in Springfield, Mo., or the $437.50 that escaped them in Seaside, Calif.
 
Fifty-four men tee it up this week at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Capitol Hill in Prattville, Ala. Number 1 on the money list is still Arron Oberholser, No. 2 is Patrick Moore and theyll play together in round 1 as the field is sent out in pairs based on their money list ranking.
 
But when do things get back to normal on this tour? It seems like forever that weve been talking about the four men with two wins each ' Oberholser, Moore, Jason Gore and Cliff Kresge ' trying to get their third. During that time weve seen the likes of Andy Miller, Roland Thatcher, David Branshaw and David Morland win tournaments and put themselves into this elite field. Surprising victors - all of them. And now each has a chance to get to the PGA Tour in 2003 with a spot in the Top 15.
 
All year Oberholser, Kresge (No. 3), Doug Barron (No. 4) and other top names have been the focus as we tried to pinpoint favorites. And this week, something tells me that the surprise winners are over.
 
If anybody would appear a lock to contend, it would be No. 9 Aaron Baddeley. Baddeley, the 21-year-old Australian has three top-4 finishes in a row and has all but assured himself a trip to the PGA Tour for 2003. Hes playing great and while he isnt No. 1 on the money list coming in, he might just be No. 1 on the minds of many.
 
In handicapping the field, Id also like the chances of Marco Dawson, No. 7. Dawson finished second at this Tour Championship three years ago to Spike McRoy. Hes battle-tested, PGA Tour-experienced and just plain good. Also beware Darron Stiles, No. 8. The North Carolinian played here last year and has just the right amount of length and toughness to hang in there.
 
But this event will, more than anything, be about patience. And with that in mind I like those who are experienced and thick-skinned. Number 17 is Omar Uresti. Omars been to the 'big show.' All he hasnt done on this tour is win. It might just be this week. And if not a win, I wouldnt be surprised to see him leap into the top 15. The same hunch is brewing about Jay Delsing. Jays played 17 years on the PGA Tour and the last two on the Buy.Com Tour. Hes never won at the big level, but won last year on the Buy.Com Tour in Arkansas and again this year in Omaha. Jays a new man and might just head home to St. Louis, Mo., with another pass to the PGA Tour.
 
Longshots might come in the form of No. 29 Emlyn Aubrey or No. 33 Jeff Freeman. Freeman is the former national PGA Club Professional champion and has been hard at work on his game this week. Length is hardly an issue for Freeman on this 7,600-yard layout. The accuracy will be. Number 41 Tom Carteris is long as most and finished second in this field here last year to Pat Bates. And never count out PGA Tour winner Mike Heinen. He plays fast, he plays long and he plays confident. Id hardly be shocked if he walked away with the top prize. Remember, top-15 rules the news but top-30 sends a player to the final stage of Q-School - which is a big bonus.
 
Should be great. Heres hoping the weather forecast (rain) is wrong and the golf is as good as weve been accustomed to seeing. If we get a surprise winner this week, Ill be surprised.
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.